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Bluebonnets and Texas Wildflowers in the Spring: Lady Bird Johnson's Legacy

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

Field of Texas Bluebonnets

Field of Texas Bluebonnets

Bluebonnets and Wildflowers

We love to take a drive out into the countryside in the Spring of each year when the bluebonnets and other wildflowers are at their peak in Texas to take some pictures. Many people have the same idea. When the cars start stacking up on the sides of the roads, one can pretty well rest assured that a beautiful sight lies ahead.

With cameras in hand, the people wander into the fields to see and record that year's bounty of bluebonnets and other wildflowers of every hue and description. Many photos are taken, particularly with the vast areas of bluebonnets in bloom. Children and adults like to pose with those iconic wildflowers. We have seen people taking pictures of their pets amidst the bluebonnets as well.

  • Did you know that the bluebonnet is the official state flower of Texas? It was designated as such as far back as 1901.
  • Bluebonnets are not all blue despite the name.

Depending upon the weather, bluebonnets can bloom anywhere between March to May. Local radio and television stations keep people updated each year as to when they are in their prime.

Long before we moved to Texas, we heard accounts from my grandparents who vacationed in Texas during the long Wisconsin winter months about the beauty of the bluebonnets and other wildflowers in the Lone Star State.

Reseeding

It is truly amazing to personally see bluebonnets adding seasonal color to a wide variety of landscapes. They are a hardy winter annual. If left to go to seed, as is common along highways where the ground is mostly undisturbed, they can reappear year after year.

If people wish to have them growing in their yards, they must not mow the grass until this natural reseeding occurs.

Lady Bird Johnson

When President Lyndon Johnson was in office, from 1963 to 1969, his wife "Lady Bird" made beautification and the seeding of wildflowers one of her prime points of focus.

Wildflower seeds were sown, not only in Texas but all across America. She deeply cared about the environment. Partly due to her efforts, the Highway Beautification Act passed in 1965. Now many of the highways all across our nation are blessed with the natural beauty of wildflowers.

National Wildflower Research Center

In 1982 Lady Bird Johnson, along with Helen Hayes, founded the National Wildflower Research Center. She donated 60 acres of land plus over $100,000 to further these efforts. On Lady Bird's birthday in 1998, it was renamed in her honor.

The Lady Bird Wildflower Center continues the research and work of environmentally making our land beautiful and sustainable for future generations.

The roads today are splashed with an array of colorful seasonal flowers. They are enjoyable year after year as most wildflowers are self-seeding and, therefore, generate the next year's crop of eye-catching beauties.

This video shows Washington and other landmarks, plus her interest in nature.

"We are obligated to leave the country looking as good if not better than we found it." Lady Bird Johnson:

Enjoy Your Area Wildflowers!

Springtime generally offers a spectacular show of blooming wildflowers in most areas of the country. We can thank Lady Bird Johnson for the heightened awareness and implementation of this beautification project and its impact on the environment. She has left behind a beautiful legacy.

Wildflowers grow in every area of Texas at different times of the year. According to the magazine Texas Highways, there are some 5,000 different types of wildflowers that grow here!

Bluebonnets are in many Texas locations but grow profusely in central Texas, as the map below shows. While we see some of them growing in roadside areas in a few portions of where we live in Houston, we generally head to Brenham and Chappell Hill if we wish to see vast fields and hillsides carpeted with them. For those who live in Austin, there are numerous nearby sites to enjoy.

Be sure to check out the Texas Department of Transportation Wildflower Guide link at the bottom of this page. You will see identified images of the various flowers. Also listed are wildflower drives, bluebonnet festivals, and more.

Locations where people find vast areas of bluebonnets each spring.

Be forewarned! If you start watching this video, you won't want it to end!

Sources:

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 26, 2020:

Hi Richard,

Bluebonnets are one of the typical wildflowers that do welcome the start of spring. Taking trips out into the countryside at that time of year is such a pleasure. So happy that you liked this article.

Richard from Texas on February 26, 2020:

Loved the article on Texas wildflowers. My wife and I live in Wylie, Tx and try to get out in the Spring to see those miracle blues popping up all over. They'r there to let you know that Winter is over.

Robert Sacchi on August 12, 2018:

I remember about the time she was making the effort a magazine posted a picture of a stretch of highway that was layered with road signs. The caption was after that title "look up that loathsome road". It was a play on words of a popular song.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 12, 2018:

Hi Robert,

Lady Bird Johnson did much to enhance the beauty on the sides of our highways. She will always be remembered for that.

Robert Sacchi on August 12, 2018:

Those are beautiful pictures. I remember Lady Bird Johnson's highway beautification efforts. They have a small park named after her near the Pentagon. I visited President Johnson's boyhood home once.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 13, 2018:

Hi C E Clark,

Drought conditions can certainly affect such things as blooming wildflowers. We still have plenty of them down in these parts. There are some types of wildflowers along the roadsides blooming even now in this summer heat.

C E Clark from North Texas on July 13, 2018:

Wild flowers used to be profuse up here which is why I always loved spring in Texas best, of all the seasons. I haven't seen any wild flowers for several years now and not a single bluebonnet in all that time either. I wonder if our drought is the problem, or if it's something else.

Gorgeous photos.

We are to have temps between 100 and 108 starting this coming Saturday and for several days to come. :(( Hope you are staying cool down there in Houston.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 05, 2015:

Hi poetryman6969,

We saw masses of blackberries in bloom yesterday as my hubby and I were walking through the forested pathways of our Houston Arboretum & Nature Center. The blossoms are quite beautiful! The bluebonnets in this region of Texas are now in full bloom. Pretty time of year!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 05, 2015:

Hi Au fait,

The bluebonnets down in our part of Texas are now in full bloom and should be that way for a while. Appreciate your pins and the share. Happy Easter to you!

poetryman6969 on April 04, 2015:

Love to see the bluebonnets blossoming. This year where we live I think we are getting a lot of blackberry flowers in bloom.

C E Clark from North Texas on April 04, 2015:

Texas has everything. 5 regions, each the size of an average state like Wisconsin, Illinois, or Iowa, and each region different from all the others. When it comes to landscape and climate, Texas has it all. It should be about time for the bluebonnets and other wild flowers to be profuse along the roadsides. I've seen a few here and there, but usually they are everywhere along with the domestic flowering trees, etc.

Expect the middle of this month through the middle of next month would be a perfect time for visitors to come to Texas to see all the lush green, and flowers, etc.

Pinned this excellent article to 2 of my boards, the "Green II board," and the "White II board." and will share with followers. Again, have a wonderful Easter!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 01, 2015:

Hi agusfanani,

I think that most people appreciate nature and the spring flowers are always welcomed. Appreciate all of the votes up. Thanks!

agusfanani from Indonesia on April 01, 2015:

Those flowers are beautiful ! I love them since I also like to take pictures of flowers and animals in nature. Vote up you hub as beautiful, awesome and interesting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 30, 2015:

Hello mayjpanayi,

We have ALL types of climates in Texas from the semi-tropical regions to arid regions as you thought. We also have the mountains in west Texas to the piney woods regions. Part of our coastline is along the Gulf of Mexico and we also have some inland lakes. Now you know a little more about Texas! :)

May J.Panayi from Brighton, UK on March 30, 2015:

How beautiful and colourful. I always imagine Texas as such a dry desert type place, what a revelation. Lovely photographs.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 05, 2015:

Hi Au fait,

I agree with you in that Spring in Texas is surely a beautiful time of year especially with all of the abundance of bluebonnets and other wild flowers in profusion. Thanks for the shares.

C E Clark from North Texas on February 05, 2015:

The wildflower season will soon be here. Came back to share this excellent article full of beautiful photos with my followers again, and pinned it to my 'Fuschia' board. Spring is my favorite season in Texas because everything becomes lush and green and wildflowers and domestic flowers alike are profuse and so beautiful.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 26, 2014:

Hi Au fait,

It has been an unusually cold winter in Texas. I noticed the bluebonnets are really coming out along the bayous and other places in Houston now. We will have to take a trip out into the countryside soon. Hope you soon see them in your area.

C E Clark from North Texas on March 25, 2014:

What a long cold winter we have had this year! Lots of our blossoming trees have had those beautiful blossoms frozen off and I noticed the trees by my balcony gave only a weak effort and starting over when that happened this year. They're leafing out and the blossoms were a total loss.

As a result of the unusually long and cold winter, we haven't had any wild flowers up here yet this spring. We usually have acres of them in February already. The temperature is still dipping pretty low at night.

You have such beautiful photos here. I'm pinning it again, this time the photo of bluebonnets to my 'Blue II' board.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 26, 2013:

Hi Peg,

I agree that Texas has some fabulous natural landscapes. I love this time of year when the wildflowers add those colorful touches to what we view. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 26, 2013:

Hi Au fait,

The bluebonnets are finished blooming down in our area but the other wildflowers are abundant and certainly brighten up the roadsides. Thanks for the additional comment and share. Nice that you are enjoying them in your part of Texas.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on May 26, 2013:

Stunning photography, PeggyW. These pictures are absolutely beautiful. The Texas landscape is wonderful in its natural state. Lovely.

C E Clark from North Texas on May 26, 2013:

The wildflowers have been profuse for several weeks up here in North Texas. The roadsides are covered with them. You have great photos here and I wanted to share them again with my followers.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 06, 2013:

Hi Crystal,

This is such a glorious time of year to view the bluebonnets and other wildflowers in Texas. Nice to know that wildflowers bloom in all of our states and at different times of the year. Glad that you enjoyed these photos. Appreciate your comment and votes.

Crystal Tatum from Georgia on April 05, 2013:

The bluebonnets are truly beautiful. I love to see wildflowers. Voting up and beautiful. Thanks for sharing your pictures.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 31, 2013:

Hi Vinaya,

Photographing wildflowers is definitely a fun activity. Not only are the flowers beautiful, but obviously it gets one out into the countryside which is also a nice break from the norm for those of us who live in cities. Appreciate your comment.

Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on March 30, 2013:

Peggy,

I find a vicarious thrill while photographing wild flowers. Your pictures are lovely.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 27, 2013:

Hi Suzie HQ,

So very glad to know that you enjoyed this hub about the Springtime wildflowers and Lady Bird Johnson's efforts in spreading them across the roadways of the U.S. They certainly are a visual treat! Appreciate all the votes + the share.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 27, 2013:

Hi Margaret,

Texas is definitely beautiful in the Springtime of year. Am sure that when it warms up your area is also beautiful. Our bluebonnets are in full bloom all around town. We will have to take a drive out in the country to see more of them sometime soon. That is a jaunt that we always enjoy! Thanks for your votes and the share.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 27, 2013:

Hi Sheila,

Lady Bird Johnson was a true lady and a wonderful first lady of our land. Her legacy is indeed a beautiful one! So happy to know that you enjoyed this hub. Thanks for the votes and share.

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on March 27, 2013:

Hi Peggy,

How stunning your photos and collection of videos are! WOW . . . I am flower mad and there is nothing more beautiful in the flower world than wildflowers. The varieties you captured are so gorgeous. I love the Indian Paintbrush, not a flower I know. Great info and I really enjoyed learning about Lady Bird Johnson and her great efforts in promoting wildflowers.

Stunning work as always Peggy on my favorite season too!

Voted Up,Useful, Interesting, Beautiful, Shared and Pinned!

Margaret Perrottet from San Antonio, FL on March 27, 2013:

What beautiful pictures. I'll have to go through Texas in the Spring sometime - what a beautiful sight. Voted up, beautiful, and interesting - and sharing.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on March 27, 2013:

This is such a wonderful hub! I love the wildflowers in spring. Ladybird Johnson was, to me, the icon of what a first lady should be. She did so much for the beautification of our lands. Your pictures are gorgeous and I really enjoyed the videos! Great hub, voted up, beautiful and sharing! :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 23, 2013:

Hi Rebecca,

So happy to know that you enjoyed my photography as well as the videos that I gathered together showcasing the gorgeous wildflowers that we have in Texas each spring. The bluebonnets are now in bloom! Thanks for your comment + the share.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on March 22, 2013:

Wow, how totally gorgeous. This is the best chronicle of spring wildflowers I have ever seen! Thanks for sharing, and I will also share!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 22, 2013:

Hi Au fait,

A neighbor in our subdivision always has bluebonnets in a portion of their lawn and I noticed today that they are in full bloom. So they are probably in full bloom out in the country as well. Will have to take a drive sometime soon. Springtime is a beautiful time of year! Thanks for your votes and the share. :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 22, 2013:

Hi Patricia,

I agree with you. Seeing wildflowers along the roadways is such an uplifting and beautiful sight to behold. I added a home movie taken by Lady Bird Johnson in 1940 and it shows not only historical landmarks and such...but also her interest in gardens long before she became the First Lady of the land. Thanks for your comment and the wishes of angels.

C E Clark from North Texas on March 22, 2013:

Gorgeous photos of Texas wildflowers. Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrushes, primroses, and more! They should all be blooming soon. Dandelions have been out for several weeks already up her north of Dallas. Spring is my favorite season in Texas because everything is lush and green and flowers are everywhere. Voted up, BA, and will share!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on March 21, 2013:

Thank you Lady Bird. and thank you Peggy.

There can never be too much beauty to decorate this lovely planet. Wildflowers spied as we drive along cannot but help make us smile as we go by. Their explosion on the landscape just brings an unexpected burst of color and beauty for us to enjoy.

Sending Angels your way :)ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 23, 2012:

Hello Tod Zechiel,

I totally agree with you! Driving the highways & byways of Texas with all of the bluebonnets + other wildflowers in glorious bloom each Spring is so delightful. So glad that you liked my photos. Thanks for your comment.

Tod Zechiel from Florida, United States on July 22, 2012:

Peggy:

I lived in eastern Texas for a brief two years. There is no finer drive than a Texas state highway in the spring time. Thank you for sharing some great photos.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 14, 2011:

Hi Stephanie,

Too bad the Texas wildflowers and bluebonnets were not as spectacular this year by way of numbers. Just too dry a year when the emerging plants needed water. Maybe next year! Thanks for the compliment and also your comment.

Stephanie Henkel from USA on April 14, 2011:

Hi Peggy, I'm always discovering something new in your collection of hubs. I just love this one on Texas wildflowers! I've photographed many of them myself, but never knew the names of many of them. Your photographs are spectacular!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 09, 2009:

Hi Plants and Oils,

Perhaps you are right. Wildflowers in any guise are always welcomed and add splashes of color whereever they are found.

Plants and Oils from England on August 08, 2009:

We have lots of wild flowers, but not these - I think they like warmer and drier climates than south England, perhaps?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 08, 2009:

Hi Plants and Oils,

Do you have bluebonnets growing in your area? I know you would have wildflowers as they grow everywhere. It really is pretty around Texas in the Spring of the year and Lady Bird Johnson is partially responsible for the grand show along the highways...not only in Texas but all across America.

Thanks for your comment.

Plants and Oils from England on August 08, 2009:

How wonderful! I really enjoyed this.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 06, 2009:

Hi again Jimmy,

Thanks for the wonderful compliment.

Yes, the photos are mine unless otherwise identified. I told someone in another hub that my favorite souvenirs of travels are my photographs. When I get home, the first thing I used to do was have the film developed (prior to digital cameras, of course) and then assemble them into photo albums. I took daily notes when traveling so as to make the identification process of the photos easier.

So glad that you are enjoying these hubs. Have many more to write...so stay tuned.

Jimmy Fuentes from Rancho Cucamonga on June 06, 2009:

Peggy, I have to tell you. I have browsed all of your hubs and you always have such fantastic pictures. It is amazing. I haven't read your full profile but did you take the majority of pictures in your hubs ? The reason I ask is just there are so many diverse and beautiful places you write about and have pictures of.. It seems a life well lived. Beautiful photos.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 12, 2009:

Thank you so much Raven for answering Iphigenia's question. Am sure it will answer it for others as well.

Texans have a lot in which to be proud! We love living here!

Happy Easter to you and a virtual hug back to you.

Raven King from Cabin Fever on April 12, 2009:

Hi Iphigenia. Blue bonnets are not blue bells. Blue Bells (Wood Hyacinth) latin name Scilla nonscripta. Flowers are larger and droopy.

Blue Bonnets are the state flower of Texas. Blue Bonnets latin name Lupinus subcarnosus. Flowers are smaller and pointed like wolf's teeth hence the name Lupinus.

Peggy your hub reminds me that I am proud to be a Texan.

Happy Easter! Many HUGS!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 12, 2009:

Hello kiran8,

Happy that you liked the photos. Thanks for the comment.

And greetings Iphigenia,

I have no idea if they are the same in fact. It is certainly possible. As to Jack in the Box......we have them here also but they are more like little violets not at all similar to the bluebonnets.

Guess we need a botanist to answer this question for us.

Iphigenia on April 12, 2009:

Lovely - I wonder are bluebonnets the same as the flowers that are called bluebells in the UK an here in France jacinthe de bois - I think the botanic name is wood hyacinth ?

kiran8 from Mangalore, India on April 11, 2009:

Amazing pics, they are so lovely- thanks a lot

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 11, 2009:

Hi RKHenry,

Thanks!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 11, 2009:

Hello Jerilee,

Happy that I could bring back some of these memories for you. This truly is a beautiful time of year down here. So much color in the fields as well as our yards. Our azaleas have peaked but put on quite a show this year as did our camellias and redbud tree. Since we have not had a good hard freeze all winter, our impatiens, begonias, salvia and other plants are adding so much color to our yard. The Easter lilies have buds about to open.

We especially like this time of year prior to the heat of summer arriving.

Thanks for your comments, Jerilee.

RKHenry from Neighborhood museum in Somewhere, USA on April 11, 2009:

Excellent!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 11, 2009:

Hello Teresa,

The Biltmore Gardens are gorgeous. With Lady Bird there and all her entourage of secret service, were you able to roam freely or were you kept at a distance until they left? Just curious.

We also got to see her, although at a distance at their country residence outside Austin. They were setting up tents and loads of chairs for some kind of outside event. She was quite the lady in every sense of the word.

You must have been hiking in Spain in the Spring? We were there in the summer and the places we got to see.....Madrid, Toledo, Barcelona and Majorca had the usual amount of flowers but not the impressionist painting you described.

Thanks for your comments.

I had to laugh when I mentioned "eye candy" in this hub because I was thinking of your latest "eye candy" hub of the men in jeans. It generated a ton of comments for you and I thought to myself that flowers are probably not in the same league for generating comments. LOL

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 11, 2009:

Hi Lupo, I remember those days when we lived in Wisconsin. Sometimes the tulips would start popping up through the last vestiges of snow and they were so welcomed! It meant that soon we would be seeing so much more. Glad to give you this virtual peek at Spring.

Jerilee Wei from United States on April 11, 2009:

Wild Texas bluebonnets in a field awash with them is one of my fondest memories of living in Texas years ago. Great hub!

Sheila from The Other Bangor on April 11, 2009:

Beautiful. I love the wildflowers that are planted along the interstates, too. Once when we were evacuated from a hurricane (Floyd, maybe) we ended up in Asheville, NC, and took the opportunity to visit the Biltmore estate -- and there was LadyBird Johnson, visiting the Rose Garden, with all her secret service men (who were real cute). It was like seeing a piece of American history (I'm not usually a gushy, patriotic type; in fact, not at all, but it was neat to see the lady).

One of my favortie memories of hiking in Spain is all the wildflowers along the roadside like an impressionist painting. Glorious. Thanks for this lovely hub.

Lupo from Boston Area on April 10, 2009:

Thank you for the great early (virtual) spring Peggy! Some flowers have popped up here but things are still pretty gray.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 10, 2009:

Somehow I am not surprised! Ha!

johnb0127 from TX on April 10, 2009:

We are already battling on the forums

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 10, 2009:

OK John and GT, Think I'll let the two of you duke it out. Ha!

goldentoad from Free and running.... on April 10, 2009:

PW- No you don't

johnb0127 from TX on April 10, 2009:

Texas Rangers!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 10, 2009:

Hey GT, We do have a few other sports teams in Texas! Ha!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 10, 2009:

Wow, KCC.........you must be in your glory about now with all those beautiful flowers in bloom! Guess if you have them in your own yard each year you do not have to take photos. LOL

goldentoad from Free and running.... on April 10, 2009:

I can't handle the cowboy fans

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 10, 2009:

Hey goldentoad, Silly in like crazy like a fox? We love it here! Very friendly people!!!

As Bob Barker used to say, "Come on down!" You'd like it.

KRC from Central Texas on April 10, 2009:

I'm trying, I'm trying! LOL

Nice hub, PeggyW....I have most of those you showed in my front yard, of course my yard is 20+ acres. LOL

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 10, 2009:

Hi C.C., You are up late like me. Just published this and you, John and goldentoad have already commented. Wow! Glad that you liked this one!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 10, 2009:

Hey John, As you and I well know, Texas is a beautiful state! Guess we need to show folks more of Texas through our hubs. Thanks for the comment.

goldentoad from Free and running.... on April 10, 2009:

Texas is a silly state, but I like your hub PW!

C. C. Riter on April 10, 2009:

Wow! wonderful pictures. Love them. Ladybird was one of Texas' best kept secrets for a looong time. i have some of the commevorative stamps for the flower beautification of which you speak. great hub dear Peggy

johnb0127 from TX on April 10, 2009:

What an amazing hub. I hope people who think of Texas as just a silly state with nothing but tumbleweeds and flat roads read this hub and see how beautiful and lucious Texas really is! Thanks for the great hub! And the cool photos!

--John

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